I Almost Survived Volunteering at the School Book Fair Without Having an Existential Crisis
I didn’t know if I’d be able to write this week because I was so busy volunteering at the elementary school Book Fair.
To be clear, I only volunteered on one of the five days for about an hour and a half, but still, the experience was extremely draining for me. Because I am the parent in my household who doesn’t have a formal, full-time job, I feel compelled to volunteer at my children’s school from time to time for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on. I have this vague feeling that lingers like a phantom in the depths of my brain that at some point in my past I enjoyed volunteering at school, and in particular, at the Book Fair.
I remember several years ago, probably around 2019 right before COVID, putting my armor on and throwing myself into the midst of the battle without receiving any instructions or plans from the field generals (PTA Moms). After loitering around the periphery of the large multipurpose room for an hour or so, aimlessly running my fingers across books about Roblox, rubbing my arms to keep warm because the temperature inside was glacial despite the early fall heat that was pressing against the windows and doors leaving thick condensation on the glass, I decided to take the bull by the horns and organize the checkout line.
There was a crush of tiny kindergarteners and first graders, arms filled with books and gel pens and unicorn slime attacking the cash register and I made it my job to fend them off. I don’t want to exaggerate, but it was truly heroic. I almost expected the school to honor my service at halftime of a high school football game or something. Despite never speaking to or being acknowledged by any adult present that fateful day, I remember feeling fulfilled after my shift was up. I was tired and my feet hurt from standing on the linoleum floors for so long, but it was a good kind of tired. An exhilarating type of pain.
This year’s Book Fair experience was very different. I have to compliment the PTA members in charge because the changes they have made to the organization and set-up of the event have made it run beautifully…